KUNDIAWA, Apr 9, 2012 (IPS) - An increase in sorcery-related violence and fatalities over the last decade in Papua New Guinea is generating awareness about the lack of development, economic opportunities, inequality and under-resourced health services in rural areas.
In late March, 70-year-old Seni and his 32-year-old son Konia (not their real names) were accused of sorcery following the sudden death of their granddaughter and niece whom they had accompanied to the nearest hospital in the town of Kundiawa for medical attention.
"We brought her to the hospital on Saturday and on Sunday she died and we took her back to the village," Konia recounted. "We don’t know what the cause of her death was."
They were then violently attacked by members of their family and community in a small village in the rural district of Gumine, Simbu Province.
"When we went to the funeral in the village, we went to where the body was," Konia continued. "Then the people started coming out and attacking us."
Konia and his father sustained serious physical injuries.
"They used bush knives. They cut me with a bush knife on my back and shoulder," Konia said. "Then they took me to the (village) toilet, tied me up and pushed my head down into the toilet."
Seni, the elderly father, was beaten until he fell to the ground face-down.
"They then used their boots to kick me on my sides, my back and on my neck until I was unconscious," Seni remembered. "If I had laid face-up, I would have been dead."
The following morning, both father and son were rescued when Konia’s sister Eva (not her real name) telephoned a friend living in Kundiawa who subsequently alerted the police. IPS fears that Eva’s efforts to save their lives have placed her own in danger, as attempts to contact her by mobile phone since the incident have failed.
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